Back when Google Docs was young, you used to have to share each document separately. Now Google has made an easy method to share documents, including files, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, PDFs, and more. You can share them with a group and easily collaborate on everything.
Folders are Collections
The first thing you need to do to get started on your group sharing is create a Collection. That's the same thing as a folder. It looks like a folder. It even used to be called a folder, but for some odd reason Google now calls them collections. It's a handy organizing bin for your shared items. Create one by going to the Create button on the upper left and then clicking on Collection from the drop-down menu.
Share Your Collection
Now that you've made a collection, you need to share it.
- Hover your mouse over the collection (the folder) on the left side of the screen and click on the downward pointing arrow that appears to the right of the name to activate the drop-down menu.
- Click on Share. It will open a side menu.
- Click on Share again. Yes, that's two Share clicks.
- Enter the email addresses of everyone you want to have access to all the files.
Editing access lets people make changes. Viewing access just lets them see your changes. Each item can have only one owner, and the owner can decide whether or not editors can invite more people into the group. Choose wisely.
Add Documents Into Your Collection
Now that you've set up your collection and the sharing preferences, it's actually super easy to share your files from now on. Any file, folder, document, slide show, spreadsheet, or other item in that collection will inherit the same sharing privileges as the collection. Add any document, and boom, it's shared to the group. Anyone with editing access to your collection can do the same thing and share more files to the group.
You don't have to make your files and then move them into the collection, either. Make them within the collection from the start.
- Hover your mouse over collection on the left side of the screen and activate the drop-down menu by clicking on the down pointing arrow just to the right of the name.
- Click on Create.
- Choose the type of document you want to make.
Any document you make or file you upload with this method will instantly be part of the group and shared with everyone else in the group. You can use the same method to make sub-folders (sub-collections) for organizing the content within the collection. That way you don't end up with a huge group of files and no method of sorting it.
By default, your Google Docs shows you all docs, shared or not, and just organizes them by the date they were most recently edited. Click on the collection name on the left to see just those docs within a collection. Click on the arrow to the left of the collection name to see any sub-collections. Remember, the downward pointing arrow to the right of the name has a different purpose.
Remember, everyone with editing access can edit your docs live, at the same time. The interface has a few quirks here and there, but it's still much faster for sharing documents than using SharePoint's check-in/check-out system. Happy collaborating!